1) In my opinion simple indexing of the photographs (without the consent of artist) carried out by Ditto.com does not qualify for a copyright offence. However, indexing that allows duplication and copying of images is objectionable. Otherwise indexing the photographs can actually help in creating web traffic for the original website provided that Ditto.com redirects the users to the websites where the original content is stored. Ditto.com should combat its critics by coming clean on its indexing of images. It can easily restrict downloading of images by setting up controls on its website.
If a user generates a query for images Ditto.com can index the images but restrict access to retrieve images and instead direct users to original websites. The users can see for themselves if an image is accessible for free or carries a price tag. If Ditto.com is ethically sound it should reconsider its image viewing status. It should address this issue and by queries to original artist’s website it will not even bypass the home page or other promotional material of the related website. If Ditto.com builds such ethical webhosting of images collected by its spider artists or related stake holders will not object it. In fact Ditto.com can charge for indexing search results prior to other searches for websites and generate revenues from its ranked index.
However, subsequent copying and distribution of the images after indexing them on its websites is an infringement of copyrights. In my opinion Ditto.com should be penalized for this particular offence.
Ditto.com claims that it transforms images by reducing them in size as it is not a real transformation. It should be held accountable not for indexing the images but for permitting their duplication online without the consent of the artist who took them.